Friday, August 1, 2008

plaisir avec le bacon - c'est ce qui fait tourner le monde

Bacon is as precious in my home as toilet paper.

I had an occasion calling for bacon themed food and my mind immediately turned towards the famed bacon mat. I needed something a little more single-serving though, so I decided to attempt bacon cups.

Second...A work of art! BACON PLACEMAT

Third..BACON ALARM way!!!Imagine waking up to the smell of bacon every day, I'm in heaven.
WHAT: An alarm clock that wakes you up with the smell and sizzle of cooking bacon.
WHY: No one likes to wake up, especially by an alarm. This clock gently wakes you up with the mouthwatering aroma of bacon, just like waking up on a Sunday morning to the smell of Mom cooking breakfast. Unless you're Jewish

Last but not least....
For Christmas 2 years ago, a few of us bought my good friend a "Bacon of the Month" gift ever... Not only did this membership include a pound of bacon delivered to the door once a month for 1 year, but it came with cute and fun piggy gifts!! The gift that keeps on giving in the best possible way! Your little bacon delivery always comes with a recipe, and nifty facts about the chosen bacon. The strangest (but delicious) bacon  was jowl bacon, pig cheeks...yum.

Friday, July 25, 2008

fête extraordinaire - juillet 21, 2008

The rumors I'd heard about Elemental were true....

  • "Whatever you do, don't drive there, you'll need to cab it home"
  • "The food and the wine just kept coming"
  • "Make sure you get there before it opens, it fills up quickly"
All true. I got there at 4:45, 15 minutes before they opened, and got the last table. The very tiny restaurant, very hidden from the world, probably had 5 - 6 tables, as well as the "chef's counter".

We all entered when we were given the 'ok', in the exact order we'd arrived, there's no messing around. Everyone was served an introductory 'apperatif', a very odd but delicious sherry. At this point I'm waiting for my friend to arrive, he thought it would be safe to get there at 5:30! When he finally arrived, we were asked if we wanted a went something like this.."would you like a cocktail?" I said, "sure, do you make a sidecar?" He looked at me like I was crazy. I started laughing hysterically and said, "Can you make me a sidecar?" He said, "How about I make you something better." How can one argue that. This was obviously his schtick. His name's Phred for crying out loud. My cocktail was strong, different, delicious. I detected that very distinctive taste right off the bat, I knew it quite well...Aquavit. While in Denmark, we'd been force-fed this stuff. It was herby, very anise-y, had a little cucumber float/infusion.

Time to eat...."would you like to order off the menu or would you like us to feed you?"


Feed us!!

Course 1
Corn Soup w/ Crème Fraiche Ice Cream
White wine (chardonnay) fruity/tart/delicious

Course 2
Octopus salad w/plum tomatoes and greens
White wine

Course 3
Rillete de Lapin (rabbit pate of sorts) served with pickled radishes and crostinis
White wine

At this point I'm pleasantly buzzed and the food keeps coming, quickly. The food is so delicious we can't help but eat every last morsel.

Course 4
Fig Pizza with a sweet drizzle, topped with salt and pepper
White wine (this was a sweet/tart wine, it was so well paired and delightful)

Course 5
Sliced beef set atop a red pepper stuffed with some sort of puree or mash
White and Red wines served

Course 6
Speck Wrapped Chicken Thigh w/ Spinach
White and Red wines served


Course 7
Cheese platter (Manchego, some blue cheese, and a mild creamy cheese)
White wine (I think)

Course 8
Dessert (three of them - don't remember what they were, I was now blind and dumb from all the alcohol I'd consumed)
More wine

All I remember at this point is taking one bite of one of the desserts, and realizing that I was going to explode. I asked my friend if we could pay 'right now'. I had to get some air and that I did. We cabbed it home, thank goodness for the tip. I may have (did) puked a little when I got home, don't worry, no food was wasted, only a lot of wine.

The service was EXCELLENT, Phred comes across as being a jerk/snob, what have you. But this is his life and passion, you can see that immediately. Everything that is served is well thought out and paired so masterfully with the perfect wines. I will go back, but I will certainly approach it differently. You DON'T have to drink every last sip of wine folks..lesson learned. (Although this is very tough being a wine lover, can't let good wine go to waste)

Here are a couple critic reviews and 2 diner reviews from other sites:

The Stranger: This place is a freakshow. The food is fantastic; I recommend that you not even pick anything and just tell the guy that you can't decide and make something good. You'll probably get to taste everything on the menu that night, and all of it will blow your mind. Beware: he will also pour you as many as TWENTY glasses of wine throughout the night, very small glasses, but still. And he won't tell you what most of them are, and he'll probably cackle maniacally when you ask. They will perfectly complement the food, though; as a taste master he's unsurpassed in Seattle. But be careful driving home.

Seattle Magazine: Elemental is one step above underground restaurant: a for-pay dinner party hosted by slightly obsessive culinary friends. It's daunting for most, exhilarating for a few. Co-owner Phred Westfall is exactly the wrong host for a control freak, but when he makes you taste your wine first before revealing its identity, he forces you to think about flavor in a new way. Co-owner and chef Laurie Riedeman's homespun food ranges from the inspired (beef short ribs on a savory waffle) to the head-scratching (escargot ravioli with pastis butter or bacon-crusted chocolate truffles). It's an odd show that battles against homogeneity at every step. Dinner Tue.–Sat. Full bar, late-night dining.

1 Star Rating: Not Recommended
An open letter to the proprietor: Dear Phred, (Yes, Fred actually spells his name Phred (so much more sophisticated don’t you think?) You are not Gordon Ramsey or Marco Pierre White. Get over yourself. You are quoted in Sunset Magazine as saying the following: " 'All the things people hate about restaurants, we hate too. So we don't do those things,' says Phred Westfall, who with Laurie Riedeman owns Elemental@Gasworks. 'We don't like to be rushed, we don't like to be patronized, we don't want to be treated like a wallet walking through the door.' " Phred, you are precisely what is WRONG with the restaurant business. I find it amusing after eating at many fine restaurants around the world, that I have never been treated so rudely, witnessed such a tantrum by the owner of the establishment, or been treated precisely as a wallet. In fact, I have never been so inspired to write a review of a restaurant positive OR negative as I am after visiting your place of business. I will share my experience with everyone I know, and encourage my friends, err, wallets, to phrequent restaurants that provide excellent and courteous service along with the meal. There is no need to treat people like dirt, especially potential customers. I guess you don't feel like you need to treat people well because there is a line in phront of your door every night. I predict the demise of your restaurant within the next year. It won't take long phor your despicable behavior to get out.
5 Star Rating: Highly Recommended
READ THE TITLE OF THE's the same message that greets you at the most unique dinning experience anywhere. It makes me sad to read such brazen reviews saying things like "the service was so pretentious, doesn't the staff know I'm paying the bill?" for those of you who think this let me help you out so you don't feel so snubbed... they "warn" you from the beginning that it's not a normal dining experience. Phred and Lauri are NOT the staff- they are compassionate, CREATIVE, innovative people who invite you into their place of entertainment. Think about it- the bill is SO REASONABLE (three adults, 14 drinks each, 25-30 plates of deliciousness, cheese plate, dessert, and after dinner drinks for $250. unbelievable value, i sometimes wonder how they make money) and the bill does NOT allow for TIP, which means Phred and Lauri are there to do what they love. HEY SEATTLE-OPEN YOUR MIND! It's so frustrating to read people focus on the negative. I assume these are the type of people who are constantly looking for things to criticize. Going to Elemental is like going to Phred and Lauri's house for dinner where the drinks flow like water and the food will leave you amazed and satisfied. If you let things like what the floors are made ruin your experience you are really missing out. if you look for the good you will find it. Elemental is what human contact should be. Don't forget that we are all people who love to Eat, Drink, and BE MERRY.
Pros: value, FOOD, experience
Cons: getting in.
As I've said, take it as you wish, but bottom line there's passion, innovation, creativity and devotion. This is apparent and shines through and beyond the 'attitude'. The food was phenomenal and the exposition of wines was a delight, a drunken delight, a treat. JeannetteThis place has my friend Lisa's name written all over it, I better give her a jingle.

Monday, July 14, 2008

les burgers (écrit par:carrie sandvick)

I only accidentally decided to find a good burger after reading that a nearby joint had awesome burgers. It had all the usual red flags for me...stand-alone restaurant, across the street from a college campus, and listed greek food in addition to burgers. Listen, if I want greek food, I'll go get some. Just give me a burger for chrisakes! That place is called Stell's. I didn't go there.

Instead, because my burger eating companion wanted a beer (and who am I to argue?), we went to Blue Moon Burgers. Despite flashing a couple red flags for me, it was on the same site that pumped up Stell's. I ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger, fries, and an IPA. Because this is not a beer blog, I will not give you my review of this not too bad, but not cold enough beer. Instead, I will tell you that the burger was big (plus), the bacon and cheese were both bacony and cheesey (plus plus), but the meat itself was not especially flavorful (minus) and was grey in color (minus?). My burger companion informed me that beef is not actually red like you see in the grocery store. It is in fact injected with dye. This natural beef was probably not dyed. Hmm. I'll take the dye just to feel better about a burger that has a color.

We sat outside on the patio and wanted to steal the beer glasses, but didn't. Pussies. The fries were really good, but couldn't eat many 'cause the burger was so big. Shoulda shared. My burger companion commented that she will no longer be ordering fries, as they make her stomach feel funny. We all know what that means...she orders a salad and eats my fries.

Like I said, this burger quest was accidental. I have been on the hunt for some time now for the best bbq sandwich, along with my good friend K-Lo. We were pretty sure we had found it. Barbeque Beef Sandwich at the Old Town Pub in Ballard. Holy crap that's a tasty sammich! And then...I went to Pike Pub and Brewery downtown. I went for the beer, but found another contender for the best bbq sandwich. This one is pulled pork, very moist, and only a little sauce. Step aside, Old Town! Shitty fries, though. Just ask my companion...she had some of mine.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

mon dernier repas des condamnés à mort - SUSHI

Sushi at Maneki....orgasmic.

I don't mess around when it comes to visiting my favorite sushi restaurant. I used to get too full on the appetizers and was forced to skimp on the good stuff. Not anymore.....
We started with a monkfish liver appetizer in a ponzu sauce/daikon...holy jesus.

Nigiri & rolls:
raw spot prawn w/ fried heads
wild salmon
salmon skin handroll
spicy tuna roll
spicy salmon roll

When it comes to this stuff I can't stop, fish crack..

Stay tuned for my quest for the best burger in Seattle!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

spoon - les dernières nouvelles

I'd signed up for the 'winery package' which entitled me to a bottle of wine (we chose their pinot noir) and a cheese/fruit platter. This platter was incredible. An entire wedge of brie, partly melted was placed in the center and surrounded by grapes, apples, and a variety of crackers...yum...melty brie.

It was then time to go to the show!! The weather was spectacular and I was steps away from the hotel, beer sheds/pubs, a winery, a few restaurants, this place was paradise. .

After the show, friends and I went to the Black Rabbit, the main restaurant at the hotel. All I wanted was greasy calamari, it was pretty good. The lemons were deep-fried with the calamari to give it a really nice flavor.

Breakfast the next day (which was included in the package!) was DELISH! I had a smoked salmon hash (I'm a sucker for hash!) which came with roasted potatoes/smoked salmon topped with 2 poached eggs, creme fraiche with chive, and rye toast - served with homemade currant jam....I'm salivating just thinking about it. Since my recent trip to France, I want everything to be topped with an egg...makes for such a cheery meal.

The Edgefield/McMinenans offer SO much for your buck, I've never been let down.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


This is going to be great! Not only will I be eating like the queen that I am (yeah right), but Spoon will be playing on our hotel grounds!! This place is an amusement park for grown-ups!! This McMenamins has 2 restaurants, a brewery, a winery, and a distillery!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

une autre découverte

Apparently almonds are good for you. They have protein and good oils. I eat them. Then I got tired of the same ol' salty nut business. What to do?

Enter Mrs. May's Almond Crunch!

They come in a variety of nut and seed and nut-seed-fruit combos, but I'm a simple girl.
Buy a small package at Tully's (who now sell more shit than coffee) or a huge bag at Costco.
In the nut department.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I've always loved 'half-popped' popcorn, and always risked breaking teeth. Glad Corn is amazing, it's crunchy, salty, the kernels are gigantic, it's the best snack I've found in ages. I've only been able to find it at Whole Foods.

Friday, May 9, 2008

édition spéciale vient à vous de la france!

I've had the misfortune of dining in Paris the last 10 days...pauvre moi.

Day 1
Let's see, for starters, the first thing I did when I got to Paris was sink my teeth into a fresh baguette..there's nothing like it. The first meal we had in the city that never sleeps was the most AMAZING salade at Le Relais de Gascon. Let's see, what's so special about a salad you may ask?... This was no ordinary salad. The version that I got was composed of salade, oeuf (egg), tomate, poulet (I'll let you figure that one out), and fried garlic potato slices on a big bowl, with a dijon dressing - made to was heavenly. The wine I ordered was not the greatest (only because we ordered the cheapest house wine), the wine here is ALL good for the most part, price does not matter, we just weren't as fortunate that evening.

Salade at Relais de Gascon
Day 2
Next morning: baguette, camembert, coffee.

Lunch: crepe au jambon et gruyere.....street style.

Dinner: Croque-Madame (french bread with jambon, smothered in gruyere, broiled, topped with a fried egg...delicieux.) Salade avec tomate, jambon, gruyere, et oeuf.

Day 3
Scrambled eggs, baguette, jus de pamplemousse.


My favorite dinner in France: Terrine a ma Maman (Micheline), Rillettes de Crevettes au gingembre, Souris d'Agneau. For dessert, fraises et framboises au fromage blanc....holy heaven. I  had a scrumptious bottle of Cote du Rhone to accompany the meal.

Day 4Baguette with broiled cheese on top...yum.

Salade Nicoise (not the greatest salad.) I LOVE rice in a salad and this is what sold me on this one. It had egg, rice, and potatoes!! It was mediocre.

Made dinner at the apartment, because I could.  Found some delicious sausage from a 'charcuterie' and made a pasta. Lots of wine of course.

Day 5More bread, more cheese.

Met some friends of friends for dinner at an AMAZING restaurant off a beaten path called Le Hangar (A wonderful little restaurant full of locals, tucked away in a tiny alley by the Centre Pompidou). I had Scallopine de Foie Gras. For dessert, we all had creme brulee safranee (saffron) was perfectly done. A very famous French director named Pascale Ferran sat at the table next to us, she won multiple awards for her adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lovers, D.H. Lawrence's erotic tale.

Day 6
More bread and cheese and a pain au chocolat.

Had a Croque-Madame.

Got to Lyon at 7pm and began to hunt for a restaurant that would have 'pied de porc'..pig foot. My favorite place is small, off the main drag, quiet, friendly. I found the place and they had 'pied de porc'. It was beyond my expectations...far beyond. It was a foot, the whole foot, skinned, roasted to medium rare, covered in an egg mixture, topped with bread crumbs. The foot lay in a bed of sliced potatoes au gratin. I've died and gone to heaven. Oh wait! To start off, I had a salad composed of 'museau de boeuf et jambe de veau' cow muzzle and veal leg..nice.

Also tried Salade Lyonnaise, which is lettuce, tomato, egg, ham, and a lovely dijon dressing and croutons. For dessert I had a Lyonnaise specialty, praline pie avec fromage blanc..jizz..jizz...

Day 7

Pate de Campagne

First meal at our B&B in Pierrefeu-du-Var, Provence, our host used to be a chef in Belgium and enjoys to cook for his guests. He made rabbit in a big pot with vegetables, tomatoes, white wine. I drank a TON of wine from his winery, a few different syrahs of various years.

For dessert, a homemade custard with raspberry seeds.

Day 8
Baguette & croissants

No lunch!! What?!

For dinner, I settled on Italian food, it seems to be very popular everywhere. I had a very thin-crust, fire baked pizza....deelish.

Day 9
More baguette & croissants

Salade w/ pamplemousse, avocado, shrimp, a few different greens, and a poached egg.
Panini w/ jambon & gruyere.

For dinner, the B&B host cooked for us again - had duck this time, perfectly pan roasted with veggies. A cheese course followed as well as another custard.

Day 10
Baguette & croissants (my jeans still fit!)

Baguette sandwich w/poulet on the TGV.

The final meal...we went very traditional French. Met some other friends and had a 4-course meal with lots of wine.
I had a foie gras starter (they call the appetizer the 'entree' in France), nice way to start. As my main (plat) I had rabbit again, cooked in my very own little pot with lots of veggies and wine..mmmmm... We were then offered a cheese course from a platter that was the size of our table! Last but not least, one of my least favorite items of the trip, a bad creme brulee au cocoa. It had obviously been torched a while back and then refrigerated. The top was soggy and unappetizing.

The highlight of the trip was food and wine. Everywhere you look there is history, art, and buildings that have been around for centuries. Every street has a bar or a cafe, or a brasserie, life, the city is full of life. People know when to end a work day and to enjoy life. My kind of place. Having been employed in a retirement home the last 2 years, I've realized that life is shorter than I'd previously thought...people keep reminding me to enjoy every minute, now.